TheCompensators* are not the only organisation with which you are able to compensate your emissions. Many other organisations and companies (such as airlines) offer seemingly similar services. However, they usually use other means: the so-called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
CDM projects ensure that additional emissions are compensated in developing countries, for example by building hydroelectric power plants or by planting trees. So the equation is the following: surplus gases emitted by industrialised countries are compensated by projects in the developing world.
The rules for CDM projects were drawn up by the United Nations, the projects are certified – for example by the German TÜV. It is assumed that emissions will continue rising as they have done. This is supposed to be remedied by the projects, which is intended to generate lower emissions. The difference is sold as a hypothetical saving and is „sold“ to the donor and then retired.
This approach is not wrong in itself as emissions are genuinely compensated in the end. Whether this happens here or elsewhere is irrelevant for the climate. However, there is a moral component which argues against using CDM, and for the compensation directly through emission trading: instead of taking on the historical obligation deriving from at least a century of excessive emissions of climate gases and sweeping in front of our own doorstep, CDM transfers money to parts of the world where they are supposed to lead to savings there. This creates a sale of indulgences which liberates Europeans from their obligation to lower their own emissions.
That is why we are offering just that: the opportunity to trade at home. Donors to TheCompensators* buy emission rights from the European Emission Trading Scheme – and thus take them away from large companies. Consequently, the number of available emission rights shrinks.
Because there is another factor to be considered concerning CDM: every year new emission rights are handed out for CDM projects, which companies in Europe are able to purchase and swap for their emissions. These additional emission rights also mean that the price of entitlements drops. This represents an incentive to compensate emissions further through the purchase of certificates rather than investing in climate-friendly technologies.
However, some CDM projects work according to the “Gold Standard” which guarantees that the additional emission rights are not sold in the market, but retired directly.
By the way, compensating with TheCompensators* has even more advantages: Every donation includes more emissions into the ETS and is a vote for a better emissions trading system.